The Gentle Giants : A Step Back in Time to Summer 1938 : A Day Spent in the New Zealand Native Bush With a Team of Working Bullocks - SIGNED (Freight charge may apply)

Author(s): Gordon MacKenzie


Gordon transports the reader to a summers day in 1938 to spend time in New Zealands native bush with a team of working bullocks and the bushmen who worked them. The book is as much Gordons story as it is a glimpse into New Zealands rich and sometimes colourful history.The Gentle Giants is a fascinating read which will appeal to people of any age who are  interested in learning more about an  important time in New Zealand's history when the working bullocks of the bush were king.After being introduced to the Hokianga, its mysteries, mystique and  Kupe’s relationship to the harbour, readers are transported back in time, to just before dawn on a February morning in 1938. Since you, the reader, will now be in spirit form, you will be listening to Gordon’s somewhat aged voice, and will be guided by him as he retraces the very same steps he had taken so many times so long ago over a period of his youth. He is however still very much alive and well to this day to tell of this great adventure: something which he has done to great effect in the book, using his own manner of speaking. Telling his story must surely be a rare achievement indeed as the men who had such experiences must certainly be very few.   Now surrounded by sights, sounds and aromas quite unfamiliar to you, we readers experience many awe inspiring sights: some hair raising as we encounter Taipo: some quite ordinary as they happen on this day in 1938. Gordon will explain many matters of general interest such as aspects of the Maori language and culture; trees and birds that have lived  here since almost the beginning of time; the men and of course the actions of the mighty cattle beasts and their driver whose company we are in, for a good part of this very long day.  These are experiences few, if any of you, would have ever had and certainly will never ever have again.     We will not be seen or heard as we follow the bullock team’s working day - only Old Mother Bush and Taipo know we are here. Above all we will be forever conscious of the underlying rumble, rumble of eighty hooves as they hit the hard ground. Testimonials.

2010. First edition. A very good copy only marked by light rubbing to the wraps. This copy has been SIGNED by the author.


Available Stock:

Add to Cart

Click & Collect

Add to Wishlist

Product Information

The Gentle Giants gives an unique insight into New Zealand’s past. Drawing on his own first hand experience, Gordon McKenzie describes the daily work of a team of bullocks and the people who work with them, logging timber in 1930’s NewZealand. Fascinating details of bullock team operation, the lives of the bushmen and the value and uses of the timber they worked so hard to extract, are all vividly described. It will give readers a new perspective on this period of New Zealand’s history, and insights which would be hard to find in a visit to the museum or other second hand accounts. The author’s mix of antidote, personal recollection and technical information is not only enlightening, but also written in a style which is enjoyable to read. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the New Zealand bush and its history.”

- David Wilson, Ranger, Biodiversity, Department of Conservation.


“This compelling book ‘The Gentle Giants’ is a real little gem for those interested in the history of the Far North of new Zealand, with fascinating insights into the lives, especially of the men whose skill and knowledge were able to work the patient bullocks to bring out the logs for building materials. Often dangerous work with subsequent loss of equipment, make gripping reading. Pen sketches, painted front cover and photographs by Gordon of the native bush are an added bonus.”

-Alison R-L Hamilton.


“This was an amazing story about a unique piece of New Zealand history. A very informative and most interesting book. Gordon has been very precise in the way he describes the bush and all aspects of the logging that happened during this period. You could imagine yourself being there and almost taste the billy tea and smell the smoke from the fire that is heating it. Not only did I learn a lot about bullock teams, I also learnt a lot about our native bush.”

- Stephen Petterson  Auckland.


Here is what Paul Asquith of Rothesay Bay, who is very well known for his work in ornithology in the Auckland region, had to say to the author about the book - “I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Gentle Giants'- a very good read .

It is an interesting and well written book.”

General Fields

  • : 9780473172015
  • : Gordon McKenzie
  • : Gordon McKenzie
  • : September 2010
  • : 210mm x 150mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : December 2010
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Colour and black and white illustrations
  • : 156
  • : 634.980993
  • : Paperback
  • : Gordon MacKenzie